Tonight I write with a conflicted heart and little idea what to do with it. I spent most of the weekend serving at Young Life’s Clear Water Cove at a weekend camp for Young Lives. Young Lives is a branch of the organization Young Life that serves teen moms and their children. I do not know of another organization like Young Lives that comes alongside young moms so beautifully and chooses to walk out life with them regardless of whether they chose to follow Christ or not.
This weekend at camp I worked in childcare and took care of precious little children so that their moms could experience the joy and excitement of camp. They got to play games, dance, do silly things, act like teenagers, and hear about Jesus in a relevant, fun, and meaningful way. Watching the beautiful and chaotic weekend camp was incredible to behold. Beautiful because I saw at least seventy-five plus men, women, college kids, high schoolers, moms, nurses, and many others come together with the sole purpose to serve each other.
This weekend we did not all look the same, sound the same or even believe the same things. We had people from all corners of the country together. But still we spent the weekend choosing to love and push one another.
And then I looked at my phone. I saw what the world saw and experienced this weekend. I saw unjust, inhuman, and unamerican actions from elite parts of our government. Now, I am not political by nature (I am working to grow in this area). I will not tell you what to think and what to do. But I will offer you my view. What you do with that is up to you.
Last night in a cabin on a bunk bed after an exhausting day of entertaining babies whose schedules were completely shot, I read about bans and laws and the many ramifications that grew from such actions. The juxtaposition of the selfless and loving environment I found myself and what I read on my phone made me feel like I had just gotten sucker punched right in my stomach. My heart broke. My heart broke because I know students in my class these laws may affect. I know the faces and stories of families that will no longer feel safe. I feel sickened by such unnecessary fear. I understand some people are concerned and want laws in place to be safe, but let us all take a moment and consider what “us” feeling safe costs others.
First, safety is simply an illusion we all buy into. I can choose the safest neighborhood, the safest car, the safest whatever. But one day I can drive my safe car with great caution on the safest route and get t-boned and die.
I choose to not be safe. The Bible never guarantees our safety. It asks that we chase after God and all that He has for us. It says He will guide and protect us. It does not say He will keep us safe. Almost all of the disciples were killed violently. You know, those guys in the Bible that were closest to Jesus. The fellas who wrote books in the new testament we read and quote. And yet, we spend most of our lives wanting to create bubbles for ourselves to live in.
Newsflash, we can’t. Creating safe little perfect bubbles won’t work. Why would we want to create a country where “we” feel safe at the cost of entire people groups? How can we feel okay about staying safe if it means turning away those basically fleeing a genocide of sorts? Where does Jesus talk about that in the Bible?
Jesus spent His time with people different than Him. He went where others would not go. He opened His arms to those others dare not touch. He faced backlash and adversity to pursue those others found repulsive or below them. The Pharisees on the other hand, they created bubbles with rules and regulations. They had hierarchies where entire people groups got excluded and separated because they were “below” them in some way.
So regardless of political opinion and affiliation, I ask that we all stop and pop the bubble. Pop the bubbles we knowingly and unknowingly create for ourselves. Stop trying to be safe, and instead step out and live without fear. Go boldly with Christ and love others by standing with them. Speak out again injustice. Stand up for those who are being denied the opportunity to be on the platform. Use your voice to shed light.
Meet someone new who does not believe what you believe. Find an organization that serves people. Advocate for others. Start dialogues and conversations with diverse groups of people. Listen. Read books that broaden your knowledge of how others view the world.
Whatever you do, do not sit by and not do something. If we step out of what we know as safe and comfortable and instead look for how we can serve and honor one another in love, I believe we can not only change our little worlds, but far beyond.
I saw this weekend what can happen when groups of people choose to serve and love one another despite differences. I want that world for the little lives I rocked to sleep and laughed deep little belly toddler laughs with this weekend. I want that reality for the students in my classroom. I want that truth for my loved one. I want that for you and me.